'They were racing for second' - Matteo Jorgenson frustrated in Paris-Nice finale
Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) saved his best performance for last in Paris-Nice but was left with a slightly bitter taste.
The US rider was unable to follow Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), who was effectively in a race of his own, but he did go over the Col d'Èze in the second group alongside Jonas Vingegaard, David Gaudu, and Simon Yates.
They finished 33 seconds down on Pogačar and 10 seconds up on the next group of GC riders, but Jorgenson felt they could and should have been more. He finished one agonising second short of jumping ahead of Romain Bardet into seventh overall, but revealed he had his sights set even higher.
"I was really motivated, I thought fifth was possible in GC, I really did," Jorgenson told FloBikes. "I gave it my all. In the end, it wasn't enough."
Paris-Nice: Tadej Pogačar solos to final stage and overall victory
Matteo Jorgenson secures Tour of Oman victory on Green Mountain
Movistar's Matteo Jorgenson calls 2023 'pivotal year for me'
Jorgenson went on to explain that it might have been enough, had his companions approached the finale differently. After cresting the final climb 45 seconds down on Pogačar, he was disappointed by the lack of the collaboration on the run down into Nice.
"The guys weren't pulling hard, they wanted to win the sprint for second. To me that's a bit of a shame," Jorgenson said.
"These guys, in the end, they were just racing for second, especially Yates was skipping pulls and slowing down the group every time he pulled through. He wanted to win the sprint at the end, but it was like come on...
"At we were only at some point only 25-30 seconds from Tadej, if they pulled a little harder we might be able to get him back and they could win the sprint from that. But that's life. I just gave it my best."
After winning the Tour of Oman, Jorgenson's GC bid at Paris-Nice began with 12th place for Movistar in the team time trial, followed by 10th place on the first summit finish at La Loge des Gardes and ninth on the Col de la Couillole on stage 7.
He revealed he'd struggled in the heat on the Couillole but put it right on the final day to seal - as he did two years ago - eighth place, a result he didn't seem entirely happy with.
"I made some mistakes yesterday with fuelling in the heat. I didn't expect it to be hot and I didn't do my heat protocol like I know how to do. That's my bad," Jorgenson said. "On the last climb I was really overheated and dehydrated and I just didn't have a good performance."
"Today I did everything right and I had the legs that I think I should have, and do have. It was good to see I had the legs but to have the legs and finish in the same place on GC is super disappointing. That's life."